From The Ice

NHL concussion protocol gets updated by league

19 JAN 2016: Calgary Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman (6) during the first period of the game between the New Jersey Devils and the Calgary Flames played at the Prudential Center in Newark,NJ. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire)

Last season, the NHL introduced concussion protocol updates that came in the form of concussion spotters placed throughout the league’s arenas to help teams identify symptoms of the controversial head injury.

This year, they’ve updated the protocol once again, trying to continue improving the league’s quality of safety.

From the league’s official release on the updated protocol:

“While it remains an individual Club’s responsibility to identify a Player who requires removal from play and evaluation for possible concussion, the NHL and the NHLPA have agreed to provide additional support to help identify Players who require evaluation under the NHL/NHLPA Concussion Protocol. A new staff of Central League Spotters will monitor all games from the Player Safety Room in New York and will be authorized to require a Player’s removal from play for evaluation for concussion if the Player exhibits certain visible sign(s) under the Protocol, following a direct or indirect blow to the head.”

The league also confirmed that teams deemed to be violating concussion protocol will be given a fine.

The staff of ‘Central League Spotters’ will work in a similar way to the in-arena spotters introduced last year, but they’ll watch games via live broadcast. All games will be observed by both the remote spotters – who are reported to be certified athletic trainers with prior experience working at the highest levels of the game – and the in-arena spotters, who are specifically trained to spot symptoms.

Teams have certainly begun to treat concussions as more of a ‘better safe than sorry’ situation in recent years, but there is still plenty of work to be done to get the league to where it needs to be in terms of safety. Hopefully, the updates introduced this year will help with that.

To read the fully updated protocol, click here.

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